Early Voting Begins Today

Election_Day_voting12_5570Voters in Wisconsin may begin in-person absentee voting today, Monday, October 20. Polls in Madison will be open from 8 am until 7 pm Monday through Friday, October 20 through 24 and October 27 through 31. All balloting must be completed in the municipal clerk’s office. More information on early voting is here.

Panel Discussion on Gubernatorial Polling

The University of Wisconsin Department of Political Science is sponsoring a panel discussion on polling in the hotly-contested Wisconsin gubernatorial race at  3 pm, Monday, October 20 in the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon Street. The panel will discuss the accuracy of polls and what we can learn from them.

Panelists include:

This event, which is free and open to the public, is cosponsored by The Capital Times.

UW-Madison Professors: Keep Hands Off the GAB

Four University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientists write in today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that politicians should not interfere with the management of the Government Accountability Board (GAB). Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) recently called for the removal of GAB director Kevin Kennedy, saying the board was dysfunctional and undemocratic.

PROFS Steering Committee member Donald Moynihan, Barry Burden, David Canon, and Kenneth Mayer contend the board operates independently and faces criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike. They write the board is comprised of former non-partisan judges nominated by the governor and approved by a majority of the State Senate. The six-member board has the authority to remove the director if they choose.

The four professors also cite a recent journal article that found the GAB to be the country’s top model for independent election administration. According to that article, Wisconsin has the only non-partisan multi-member elections board in the country.

The full column is here.

First Gubernatorial Debate Tonight

Republican Governor Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Mary Burke will face off tonight in the first of two scheduled debates. The debate, sponsored by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, will be held at 7 pm in Eau Claire. It will follow a traditional format and be moderated by former Milwaukee broadcaster Jill Geisler.

A list of radio and television stations offering live and delayed coverage is here. Livestream coverage is available on the Wisconsin Public Television and Channel 3000 websites. An archived copy of the debate will also be available on the C-SPAN website.

The second debate will be held next Friday evening in Milwaukee.

United States Supreme Court Blocks Wisconsin Voter ID Law

The United States Supreme Court ruled 6-3 last night to block implementation of Wisconsin’s voter identification law. Further action on the case is not expected until after the November election, meaning voters will not need to show identification at the polls next month.

Last month, a panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wisconsin’s law could be implemented while the court considered the constitutionality of the law. Opponents of voter identification legislation filed an emergency request to block the law with Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, the justice responsible for the Seventh Circuit. Kagan took the case to the full court, which ruled last night. The court must now decide whether or not to hear the case.

The ruling is here.

PROFS opposed this legislation.

Chancellor Blank on the 2015-17 State Biennial Budget

Chancellor Rebecca Blank offers her perspective on Wisconsin’s upcoming 2015-17 biennial budget process in her most recent Blank’s Slate blog post.

Blank writes the budget will be the primary focus of the governor and legislators in January, and UW-Madison should prepare itself for the possibility of continued cuts. The state is on track to end the year with an almost $1 billion structural deficit, and the university must compete with other high-need funding areas for limited state resources. Because the budget process is lengthy — it often stretches into June or July — the chancellor has asked deans and directors to model cuts of 2, 4, and 6 percent.

The chancellor plans to coordinate efforts with PROFS and ASPRO, the Academic Staff Professionals Organization, and will reach out to alumni and members of the business community as she makes the case for increased funding for UW-Madison with legislators.